Travel is an enervating experience.But blissful exploration turns into a horror story when you’re illegally incarcerated in a strange land.
The horror story is very real and unfolds daily in the Philippines at the NAIA airport. Local intelligence agencies confirm black ops conducted against travellers, and a famous foreign correspondent slammed the illicit activity.
You can protect yourself from malicious prosecution with the following steps:
- First, understand that the modus operandi employed against travellers consists of the planting of slugs or ammunition without gun powder. Alternatively the airport officials harass travellers wearing legitimate talismans in the shape of bullets.
- Second know that what is forbidden by travel regulations is complete ammunition. Republic Act 10591 describes the contrabad this way :(b) Ammunition refers to a complete unfixed unit consisting of a bullet, gunpowder, cartridge case and primer or loaded shell for use in any firearm.
- The unscrupulous airport official will then spot a traveller wearing a bullet-shaped talisman. Finding none, his associates may plant a dead bullet in the bag of a careless tourist. This lays the precedent for a scam. The tourist will be cornered with possible jail time as the officer cites section 28 of Republic Act 10591 to wit “(g) The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully acquire or possess ammunition for a small arm or Class-A light weapon. If the violation of this paragraph is committed by the same person charged with the unlawful acquisition or possession of a small arm, the former violation shall be absorbed by the latter;”
- The response of the level-headed tourist is this: “Dear Officer, I am clearly not violating the law as the questionable object is incomplete ammunition (it is missing gunpowder etc etc). What is punishable is complete ammunition that will fire when hit by the hammer. “ Alternatively if you are harassed for wearing a dead bullet as a talisman, you can say “Dear Officer, you must be mistaken in your zeal to uphold the law. What RA 10591 forbids is a live bullet that is clearly intended for use in a firearm. What you question is obviously intended for use as an accessory.”
Keep your presence of mind and answer courteously. Remember, that you can never be charged if the elements of the crime are missing. A felonious act is deemed criminal only when all the components of said iniquity exists.
One more tip: if you are held arbitrarily, Art 125 of the Revised Penal Code demands that the legal officer deliver you before the judge within 12 to 36 hours or he will be charged with very heavy penalties-
Art. 125. Delay in the delivery of detained persons to the proper judicial authorities. — The penalties provided in the next preceding article shall be imposed upon the public officer or employee who shall detain any person for some legal ground and shall fail to deliver such person to the proper judicial authorities within the period of; twelve (12) hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by light penalties, or their equivalent; eighteen (18) hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by correctional penalties, or their equivalent and thirty-six (36) hours, for crimes, or offenses punishable by afflictive or capital penalties, or their equivalent.